The reason you stop exercising has to do with the way you start
If you’ve ever played Jenga, you know things can fall apart with just one small move. It’s like that with exercise too. One unexpected stressor, problem, or project, and your best intentions to exercise, can fall apart.
The problem, however, is not so much why we stop—it’s the way we start.
I often hear people discounting the struggle and soreness at the start of exercise as just needing to get used to it. They know that when they see results motivation will get easier.
While this is true, it also sets you up for greater challenges with sticking with it and struggles with starting again when you stop.
There is a much easier and much more lasting way to start.
As I mentioned last week, every moment of every day billions of cells in your body are dying off and new ones are being created. Growing all those cells so your body can function well isn’t a quick process, it’s a gradual one.
When the start of exercise leaves you feeling sore and exhausted, your cells have more work than they are designed to handle at one time. The soreness is a sign the healing and health you are looking for has just taken a back seat.
But what about “No pain no gain”? That saying was invented for athletes, to remind them that pain is part of the process of gaining a competitive edge. It was never meant for those of us exercising for health and wellbeing. It is not saying pain is necessary for progress, it’s simply a byproduct of doing too much too soon.
More importantly, continuing to do something when it leaves you feeling sore and tired takes a lot of brain energy (AKA willpower). There is only so much brain energy to go around, so when something else in your life requires your brains attention, the willpower to exercise will take a back seat.
Your brain remembers that pain, soreness and energy needed to start exercising, and when you go to start again, it resists. The true shortcut is to start right where you are, so you feel better from day one. It’s not sexy or marketable, but it works!
How to Start Smart: As you start exercising, notice what your body telling you. Is it saying thank you? Adjust what you are doing with the goal to start with just enough to be well now. When your brain questions if that is enough to see results, remember that this is how you tell your cells to be well.